Gender Equity, Social Institutions, and Public Affairs Immersion

Overview for Gender Equity, Social Institutions, and Public Affairs Immersion

The gender equity, social institutions, and public affairs immersion equips you with the ability to view the social domain of public affairs, institutions, practices, and policies through a gendered lens and prepares you for future potential roles as advocates and leaders in the struggle toward gender equity and social justice at local, national, and global levels.

This immersion explores the influence of gender in its intersection with sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, race, class, and dis/ability within the social, institutional, and policy environment. You will learn to analyze domains of power within the economic, political, and social structures (including the family), identify gender inequities and inequalities, and evaluate and implement theories, methods, and practices for challenging gendered discrimination, increasing inclusiveness, imagining social justice, and improving lives and well-being at the individual and collective levels.

As gender is such a pervasive dimension of public life and policies, the immersion is beneficial to students in all major, especially those interested in promoting gender justice in the fields of sustainability and development; industry and transportation; economics and finance; human rights; the legal and judicial systems; health; international peace and security; and urban, environmental, and energy policies.

Notes about this immersion:

  • Posting of the immersion on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the immersion.
  • Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).

The plan code for Gender Equity, Social Institutions, and Public Affairs Immersion is GESIPA-IM.

Curriculum Update in Process for 2024-2025 for Gender Equity, Social Institutions, and Public Affairs Immersion

Current Students: See Curriculum Requirements

Required Course
Choose one of the following:
Foundations Of Women And Gender Studies
Women’s and Gender Studies is the academic manifestation of feminism. This interdisciplinary course interrogates the social constructions, political systems, and historical rhetorics that have produced and maintain hegemonic power structures. In this course you will examine key feminist, queer, and critical race writings and discourses, study the rise of feminist thought, and consider the history of women’s activism and the women’s rights movements from Suffrage to the present day. The course will also consider the application of feminist theory made visible through the rise of new and intersectional social identity movements. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Feminist Practices of Inquiry
This course aims at introducing students to the diverse ways in which feminist and gender studies practitioners (scholars, writers, artists, and activists) have critically analyzed, challenged, and creatively reinvented predominant methods, models, and practices of knowledge production in various areas of the natural and social sciences, the medical arts, the humanities, and the visual and performing arts. Questions to be considered include: What constitutes feminist practices of inquiry? How do feminist research practices approach issues of objectivity and subjectivity? How does one formulate a feminist question? What key questions guide feminist researchers and how can we apply those questions to a variety of research topics? How do feminist practices of inquiry intersect with race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexualities, identity-formation processes, (dis)abilities, age? How do feminist research practices produce transformations, emancipation, and increased fairness of representation? Lecture 3 (Spring).
Introduction to LGBTQ+ Studies
This introductory course examines a broad range of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues within the historical, psychological, racial, theological, cultural, and legal contexts in which we live. Students will learn the historical and theoretical foundations of LGBTQ+ studies as well as the contemporary implications for family, work, religion, and law for LGBTQ+ people and the mainstream society. Students will have the opportunity to compare the regulation of sexual orientation across different gender, racial, and socioeconomic communities. Lecture 3 (Fall).
Choose two of the following:
 Gender-Based Violence: Awareness, Prevention, Response
Does gender-based violence consist only of forcible acts punishable by law or does it also include episodes of gender constraint that may not involve physical assault yet have serious effects on bodies and lives? Is gender-based violence an ethical issue and a form of human rights violation? What are the value systems that enable the occurrence of gendered violence? This course focuses on sex- and gender-based violence understood as a continuum of social and interpersonal violent behaviors that not only shade into one another but also inform and reinforce one another. By examining a variety of case studies drawn from national, transnational, and global contexts, the course examines experiences of sexed and gendered violence such as verbal violence, harassment, domestic and intimate-partner violence, and sexual attack. The course investigates social, economic, and cultural contributing factors that surround sex- and gender-based violence as well as some historical responses, prevalence of the phenomena, and tools and resources to resist such forms of violence. The course aims to raise awareness about the topic of sex- and gender-based violence, educate on strategies and techniques to disrupt such forms of violent social behaviors, promote positive actions of intervention at the local and global level, and generate interest in humanitarian and professional opportunities in the field such as activism, advocacy, education, health, policy, and the law. The course also highlights the ethical challenges (such as privacy and confidentiality, respect for individuals, vulnerability and safety, protection and disclosure of data) related to dealing with cases of gender-based violence. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Sex Work, and Sex Trade
Why does sex for sale raise some of the most controversial and often taboo questions of our time? Is sex for sale a form of exploitation and violence against individuals (whether women, men, queer or other non-binary individuals)? Or does sex for sale offer emancipatory possibilities and therefore ought to be understood as part of an ethics of sexual liberation, personal affirmation, and individual agency? What are the moral values, ethical standards, and economic and legal systems surrounding sex for sale? The course explores some of the myriad varieties of global sex for sale such as pornography, prostitution, erotic dance, escorting, street work, camming, peep shows, and sex tourism. The course considers various feminist and queer theories’ perspectives on the sex trade, critically analyzing theoretical and empirical studies and assessing various legal approaches to regulating this multi-faceted industry. The course tackles the sex industry transnationally exploring the connections between sex, gender, sexuality, and other social markers such as race/ethnicity, class, disability, age, and nationality; it investigates how these markers play out in the purchase and sale of sexual services; and it challenges commonly held ethical standards surrounding sex for sale. By the end of the course, students will understand how they as individuals could contribute to solutions, activism, and social change for increased respect toward the fundamental humanity of sex workers and for enhanced life and work conditions of those who work in the sex industry. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Men, Males, and Masculinities
Who and what defines a man? What challenges might the process of manhood present? How does one’s masculine expression align or not align with family or societal definitions? How are men harmed by unattainable ideas of manhood? What advantages and privileges come along with embodying maleness? What impacts does masculinity have on men’s relationships (with women, with other men, as fathers, as sons)? What does it mean to be a man of color, a working-class man or a gay man? Is masculinity innately violent or aggressive? This course uses a critical approach to examine individual, institutional, and societal understandings of what it means in general to be a man. It explores models of masculinity in conjunction with analyses of race, class, disability, and sexuality. It analyzes the common and diverse experiences of how some human beings are socialized and/or choose to express their masculinity in healthy, unique, hegemonic and sometimes problematic ways. It probes how some models of (toxic or hegemonic) masculinity promote hierarchies of power and privilege in groups, organizations, and institutions. And it investigates ways in which toxic forms of masculinity can be broken down and rewritten to work toward a healthier, more just (and less oppressive) society for all. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Women, Work, and Culture
In this course, we analyze historical and contemporary patterns of gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and the organization of work. Using the theoretical perspectives we analyze the work historically undertaken by women in societies and its relationship to broader political and economic structures. While our primary focus is on the U.S., we will also conduct a cross-cultural analysis of gender and work in developing and industrializing societies. Specific issues include gender discrimination (e.g., wage discrimination, sexual harassment), sexuality, reproduction, and women organizing to control their work and working conditions. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
 Prostitution and Vice
This course will examine prostitution and vice in the United States and globally. Through empirical scholarship, various issues will be examined including issues faced by sex workers including crime, victimization, health and safety, and law and policy issues. Quality of life issues for communities will also be examined. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Domestic Violence
This course focuses on domestic violence in the United States and globally. Various types of domestic violence will be examined, including intimate partner violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. The course will also examine criminal justice responses to domestic violence, including police, court processing of domestic violence cases and punishment of domestic violence offenders. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Seminar on Sexual Violence
This course focuses on sexual violence in the United States and globally. Various types of sexual violence will be examined, including incest, elder abuse, and male victimization. The course will also examine criminal justice responses to sexual violence, including police, court processing of sexual violence cases and punishment and treatment of sexual offenders. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Women and Crime
This course deals with women as criminal offenders and as victims of crime, focusing upon theories about women in crime, types of crimes committed, patterns of criminality and the treatment of women offenders. Also examines the role of women as law enforcement officers, judges, lawyers and correctional officers in the criminal justice system. (Prerequisites: CRIM-110 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
 American Women's and Gender History
This course surveys women’s history in the United States from the colonial period to present. The course moves chronologically and thematically, focusing on the diversity of women’s experiences across race, class, and geography as well as the construction of dominant gender norms. Topics include Native American, African American, and Euro-American women in colonial America; the Industrial Revolution and the ideology of domesticity, Women in the American West; women’s paid and unpaid work; sexuality and reproduction; women’s activism; and women’s experiences of immigration and family life. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Feminist Leadership, Gender Equity and Empowerment
This course explores contemporary leadership styles through the lens of gender diversity. Relying upon a feminist social justice framework alongside models of intersectionality, students will actively engage with a wide variety of gender and culture-informed literature and visual media sources, defining—in both theory and practice—what it means to be an inclusive and empowering leader in modern society. Some questions to consider will include: In a work environment, who is responsible for ensuring gender equity? Where does inclusion begin? How does our personal identity shape our view of leadership? How does our view of leadership shape our identity? Why does gender matter in a professional environment? What role does feminism play in the construction of societal norms? What is the relation between leadership, power relations, and authority? How does a feminist social justice framework affect and reorient traditional notions of leadership? How do leadership styles and models vary across cultures? What styles of leadership are needed to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces, organizations, and societies? Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Feminist Activism for Gender Justice
This course focuses on the many forms of feminist activisms and feminist strategies of grassroots social resistance in the U.S. and beyond. It centers women as agents of social change in the struggle to challenge gender stereotypes, sexism, and oppressive policies; organize to reduce social issues such as poverty, racism, homophobia, and violence; work to expand opportunities for gender equity and social justice; and confront barriers in education, the criminal justice system, and politics. Topics of investigation include feminist struggles against domestic and sexual violence (including emergent forms of sexual regulation and slavery, agendas of incarceration, and politics of immigration and housing) as well as the fight for personhood, citizenship, legal rights, property rights, rights to the land, water, and clean air, disability rights, personal freedom, suffrage, education, reproductive rights, workplace equality, and more. As there is a personal element to all forms of feminist social activism, the course will also engage questions such as: How do you envision yourself as an empowered, effective activist for gender justice? What strengths, resources, and commitments can you bring to your gender justice work? What social issues are you most passionate about? Students in the course will also create or participate in some activist project concerning a particularly pressing local, national or global social issue thereby melding theory and practice for increased gender justice in the world we live in. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Philosophies of Love,Sex, and Gender
Love is indeed one of the most central concerns in everyone’s life; yet, we spend very little time thinking conceptually about love in its various forms, aspects, implications, nuances, benefits, detriments, and harms. In this course, we will examine views from classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary thinkers on various kinds of love, including some controversial versions of it; we will consider the relation of love in its various forms to desire, emotions, physical intimacy, seduction, sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, and the construction of personal identity; and we will analyze how the various forms of love affect and are affected by gender norms, roles, and images. Lecture 3 .
 Performing Identity in Popular Media
This class is a critical, theoretical, and practical examination of the constitution and performance of personal identity within popular media as it relates to identity politics in everyday life. Through lectures, readings, film, and critical writing, students will examine elements of personal identity and diversity in popular media in order to foster a deeper understanding of how identity is constructed and performed in society. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Women and the Deaf Community
Deaf history, as a field, has often neglected the story of deaf women. Scholar Arlene B. Kelly has recently asked, Where is deaf herstory? This course seeks to correct that gender imbalance in deaf history. We will study deaf women's history. This will include a consideration of deaf-blind women, as well, as women like Helen Keller were often the most famous deaf women of their era. But this course also seeks to look at the role of hearing women in deaf history. Hearing women dominated the field of deaf education in the late nineteenth century. They had a tremendous impact on the lives of deaf children and the events of deaf educational history. Hearing women were also important figures in deaf history as mothers. As mothers of deaf children, hearing women were frequently asked to behave as teachers in the home. Their embrace of this role often led them to endorse oral education, and oppose the sign language. Hearing mothers in this way were pitted against their adult deaf daughters, who frequently went on to learn sign language against their mothers' wishes. The historically complex relationship between women and the deaf community will be explored in this course. Lecture 3 (Fall).
 Communication, Gender, and Media
This course examines the relationship between gender and media communication with specific attention to how gender affects choices in mass media and social media practices. Students explore how gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and social roles, affect media coverage, portrayals, production and reception. They consider issues of authorship, spectatorship (audience), and the ways in which various media content (film, television, print journalism, advertising, social media) enables, facilitates, and challenges these social constructions in society. The course covers communication theories and scholarship as it applies to gender and media, methods of media analysis, and topics of current interest. Lecture 3 (Biannual).
 Queering Gender
This course begins with the concept that sexuality, gender and gender identity is neither fixed nor innate. Many people who adopt a definition or expression of gender different from society often identify themselves as queer. The study of this movement is referred to as queer theory. This course examines the concepts of sex, gender, and gender expression of straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic classes within the context of the larger society in which we live. Students will explore the unique political, legal, and interpersonal challenges faced by those embracing queer identity as well as the diversity of gender identities and expressions. Lecture 3 (Spring).
 Gender and Political Thought
 Collaborative Learning Seminar in WGSS*
This small-group, discussion-oriented, intensive-writing seminar examines some area of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (chosen by the instructor, announced in the course subtitle, and developed in the syllabus). The seminar is based on collaborative learning, discussions, and various forms of formal and informal writing understood as an integral part of the critical exploration of WGSS-related topics. (Prerequisites: Must have completed at least 2 WGST courses (core or co-listed) or equivalent courses.) Seminar 3 (Spring).
 Economics of Women and the Family
Women make choices concerning marriage, fertility and labor market participation on the basis of many factors, including government policies targeting those decisions. This course uses economic theory and empirical research in order to describe the changing demographic profile of families, poverty, and the labor force and to explore how economic theory and practice fit into the larger social science goals of describing human behavior by focusing on women and on the family. Lecture 3 (Fall).

* When relevant to gender equity, social institutions, and public affairs